In her article, Sheila Creth highlights the importance of a networked organization, particularly in the modern higher education environment. She notes that there is need for organizations to maximally utilize their members of staff to successfully run the operations. Creth gives an example of networking between libraries and information technology services for a progressive transition to the future. The article further argues that the first decade of the 21st century was to be a challenging period for colleges and universities in their quest to review the mission and services without compromising the quality of services and traditions. In the process of redesigning the organizations, according to Creth, administrators will be expected to make tough decisions when it comes to strategic planning and resource allocation.
Creth emphasizes the fact that administrators in nonacademic core operations like information technology services and libraries are the most affected by the changes compared with their academic counterparts. Several approaches that can be used by the administrators are identified by the author and recommended for use in addressing the challenges. She observes that how the administrators choose to run their organizations is crucial for effective utilization of available resources. The peculiar experiences of a given organization play a central role in the selection of a particular design.
However, general trends of redesigning organizations especially in higher education are highlighted by the author. According to the author, organizational culture is very influential in the design of any given organization. These include the peculiar characteristics and traditions that define the organization.
She suggests, and I strongly agree with her, that administrators and stakeholders should consider the structures and processes that promise to work within the local organizational environment. The next consideration for the administrators is organization structure and processes. Organization structure refers to how the various responsibilities are assigned to the various units and departments with an aim of accomplishing given tasks. On the other hand, organization processes involve the understanding of interactions, relationships, knowledge, and experiences among people in an organization. The human component in organization processes distinguishes it from organization structure. However, according to the author, they are closely related trends crucial in ensuring effective organization design. Organization processes aim to foster a process of team work through enhancing responsiveness and vitality in a given organization.
Despite individual differences in opinion and philosophy, people in an organization are expected to cultivate a team process that will keep the organization operating at its best and in line with stated goals. This will greatly determine the future design of any given organization. Another crucial trend in an organization identified by Creth is networking. Networked organizations promote effective working relationships among the components of an organization; structure and processes. People in different units and departments are expected to interact freely as they share their relevant expertise. Through this trend, many organizations have become highly decentralized in most of its operations and decision making. The author identifies the requirements in a networked organization like personal discipline, good communication skills and spirit of teamwork. With the current advancement in information, communication and technology, I concur with Creth that these are crucial characteristics that will help transform organizations and design them for the better.
It is apparent that there is need to consider organizational design as a way of attaining significant developments in productivity as well as the quality of services rendered by any given organization. This is because organization design is the best way towards addressing and overcoming the challenges that may be experienced. Organization design will go a long way in facilitating the quest for new, timelier, and high quality services, as well as in the production of new products. The future of organizational design, if well managed, is bright and will result in increased efficiency in productivity and fulfillment of stated mission.